Open-source introduction

Open-source applications are ones that allow you to have access to the source code. You can freely distribute the software, change it, and distribute the changes.

Many of these applications have been built to run on servers and designed to support Websites. There are also many applications that are designed for desktops and laptops. OS-College focuses on a few of them that were designed for productivity and graphic design.

Features of many applications

While many people will not modify one of these applications, they value two other aspects that are typical of many open-source applications.

  • Free of charge: These applications can be downloaded and installed on as many computers as desired, and you won’t be charged anything.
  • Cross-platform: This means that the applications have the same features and capabilities, regardless of whether they are running on Windows, Mac, various Linux distros, and other platforms. Programmers have made them run natively on different operating systems.
  • Portable apps: These applications have an instance that can be run from an external drive without being installed on a particular computer. They can be taken from computer to computer and used, as long as that computer is running a compatible operating system, typically Windows.
  • Open formats: Each of these applications can save documents in formats that are not tied to a particular application. The formats are also transparent. This means they are fully documented, and the documentation has been made available to the public. It has been developed through a public and community-driven process.

LibreOffice

This collection of six applications was derived from the source code of OpenOffice.org, and it is considered to be the leading competitor to Microsoft Office. It has most of the same capabilities. It also has many that the popular suite does not.

  • Here is the page where you can download the suite. Most Linux distros have come with it pre-installed, though it is not always the latest version. The Web page has the latest versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux distros.
  • Click here to download the portable version.

GIMP

This application is a competitor to Adobe Photoshop. Users can edit photos and create bitmap graphics. GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It has many of the capabilities of Photoshop, and it can be used for most photo-editing tasks and graphics design projects.

  • Here is the link where you can download and install GIMP for Mac and Windows. The application for Linux distros and UNIX-like systems can be installed through the operating system’s PPA. The flatpack also can be downloaded and installed.
  • Here is the page for the portable version.

Inkscape

This is a vector-drawing application that is similar to Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw. It has more features and capabilities than LibreOffice Draw. It is the most feature-rich vector drawing application that is open-source.

  • Here is the page to download and install the application. You can download versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux distros. Linux distros also make the applications available in their software managers.
  • Here is the page to download the portable version.

Scribus

Scribus is a desktop publishing application, like QuarkXpress and Adobe InDesign. Like these other professional-level applications, it can handle CMYK colors, spot colors, ICC color management and versatile PDF creation.

  • Here is the page to download and install the application. This page has links for many different operating systems. It can even be run on Windows 2000. Linux users also can install the application through their distro’s software manager.
  • Here is the page to download the portable version.